Tim Minchin mightn’t be the type of artist to repeat himself, but his upcoming musical project is sure to feel a little familiar.
Minchin is teaming up with Matthew Warchus (director of Matilda the Musical) again to bring the 1993 Bill Murray comedy Groundhog Day to the musical stage. He’s working with Danny Rubin, who wrote the screenplay for the original film, and looking to workshop the piece in spring this year. Warchus has said he’s not locked into an opening in Broadway or the West End, but will decide post-workshop which audience the musical is most appropriate for.
Minchin previously worked with Warchus on their box-office-smashing musical version of Roald Dahl’s classic Matilda. The West End production holds the record for the most Olivier awards won by a musical. When it transferred to New York, it was acclaimed by critics, with New York Times critic Ben Brantley declaring it “the most satisfying and subversive musical ever to come out of Britain”. Matilda is due to open in Melbourne in September 2015.
Groundhog Day follows Phil Connors, a pessimistic weatherman who is forced to live the same day over and over again until he can learn to appreciate the good in his life. Though the film was met with a warm reception on its release, it continued to gain more critical and popular traction over the following years, and in 2006 was added to the United States National Film Registry having been deemed ”culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
Broadway and the West End have been flooded with movie-to-musical adaptations over the past decade (everything from Legally Blonde – the Musical, to Priscilla Queen of the Desert, to Sister Act). Last year, despite strong Broadway reviews, Matilda was beaten at the Tony Awards by Kinky Boots, another movie-to-musical adaptation.
While they generally manage to do reasonably well in terms of ticket sales, relying on an audience’s familiarity with their source material, very few of these adaptations run for longer than a few years. But given the critical and commercial success of Matilda, all eyes will be on Minchin to see if he can replicate the magic
This article was first published on The Daily Review. Since it was written, Minchin has confirmed the project via his website.
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